For my first experience hosting with Airbnb, I hosted a gentleman from the UK for the inauguration weekend and Women’s March in Washington DC. When I arrived home, I discovered he had taken every item that may have been indicative of someone other than him living there (photos, art, my guitar) and stuffed them into our closets – thus, damaging the items – that my roommate and I explicitly stated in our rules not to go into. He also stole both of my Amazon fire sticks from the TVs. The next morning, I also discovered he had stolen all of my underwear. It’s been two weeks and even though I immediately provided photos and receipts to Airbnb, not only are they completely unresponsive but they withheld his payment of $800 to me until I held their feet to the fire. At that point they explained they were holding the funds because of an “issue with the user account.” When I asked if he complained, they stated that it was “more than that,” whatever that means. I have called and emailed multiple times and not only has nobody been in touch with us, but they haven’t refunded what I’ve had to spend to replace the items. They keep telling me they hope this doesn’t discourage us from hosting in the future. Thanks, but after I get my place swept for bugs, I’ll absolutely never be using Airbnb’s horrible hosting service again.
We were looking for somewhere to stay in Hout Bay, South Africa and as a member of Airbnb we went onto their website and saw Villa Barry advertised. The picture clearly shows the villa with a swimming pool on the property. We pressed the “get a quote” button (which clearly states underneath “you will not be charged yet”). The agent emailed back to say the price would be £367. This seemed reasonable but we thought we would clarify that the swimming pool was included in the price. The agent mailed back and said there would be an additional charge for using the pool of approximately £5 per day. We thought this outrageous to be charged extra for the use of a pool which is clearly on the property so we did not take the matter any further as we had not confirmed the booking. Since then we received a rude email stating that we will only receive a refund of £167 instead of the full amount of £367. We contacted an Airbnb customer service agent to say that we never confirmed the booking; we only asked for information on the swimming pool so there was no reason for her to take any money at all. We expect a full refund. Since then, she has not had the good manners to even acknowledge our email and as yet, we have received no communication from her whatsoever. We have now put this case in the hands of our credit card fraud department. We have used Airbnb before but never been treated so badly by a so-called agent. As we have been treated so shamefully we would never recommend Airbnb.
The host in this story has told me to just accept that my items are lost, so that has now pushed me to the point of pure anger. I’m seeking some closure by hashing this out on my keyboard.
I went to my friend’s 30th birthday in Dorset, UK, only an hour or so away from us. Our mutual friends were staying in an Airbnb nearby for the week leading up to her 30th, so we went to stay in a spare room of the house for the one and only night we were there. Being a typical high-anxiety kinda gal, I like to take a few items of clothing to choose from when I know I’m going out in public, just in case I change my mind at the last minute because one actually makes me look like a primary school teacher/whale/idiot. I took two dresses and two suit jackets, and the morning after, I stupidly left all of those things hanging behind the bedroom door: barely worn, nice-ish labels (Phase Eight, ladies), average size for a woman, combined worth of £150.
Now, whilst I admit this was entirely my fault, naively enough I figured that of course any normal person would have found these and put them in a safe place ready to return to me, right? That’s normal; people are kind, right? My friend emailed the host to explain I’d left some things behind. There was no response. Then I emailed the host, saying I was happy to send over some money as per Airbnb’s “resolution centre”, and a few days later I got a response:
“Hi, I’m really sorry there was no sign of anything when I went in on Friday. Will talk to cleaners tomorrow for you as they are in.”
Great, that’s fine. Sure, it had already been a week by now and the cleaners were only just going in which was strange, but fine. I should mention here that I’m a cleaner of holiday lets myself. I heard nothing back for a few days, so I checked in, and the response was:
“There was nothing that I could see the other day. I will take a proper look on the next change over day. Will be in the new year now.”
It was December 27th, 2016. Ok, that was fine. There are people staying in the house over Christmas and New Year. I know this because Airbnb says it was booked out. However, that was fine; my clothes will stay wherever they’ve been left by the nice cleaners I’m sure. I waited until after New Years, or January 8th just to give her some breathing space. By this time I had let Airbnb know of the situation, and they were also trying to ring her, getting no answer. I got a message back a few days later:
“Hi Natalie. The cleaners are not aware of anything fitting that description. I have just been very busy and don’t live near the area. I’m not planning to visit the place until the end of the month. You might have to accept you have lost the items. I got a voicemail from Airbnb enquiring for you.”
So… no. “I’m really sorry, but we can’t find your things” or “I’m so sorry that we can’t resolve this but…” I just don’t understand this way of dealing with people at all. She’s not sorry, she doesn’t give a crap, and that’s that. But that just makes me even more concerned, and I kept prodding. I wrote:
“As a woman to woman thing, would you accept that you’ve ‘just lost the items’? I can’t just nip out and replace them. Do you understand that as a customer I therefore rely on you to help me? I paid to stay at your property and I feel like I’m being fobbed off. I’m sorry that you’ve been too busy to help out but it is a business you run based on trust and respect to your property and the people that stay there, and I have lost all sense of that. It is totally my fault that I left them there but if it was me, running a business like this, I would endeavor to make sure my clients were reassured. Can I please be put in touch with your cleaners as I’m guessing they live closer? Or your brother that goes around daily? Somebody who could go and check. As I said, I can wire money via Airbnb to post them back and I’m happy to add on more than the cost. I just want my things back.”
And nothing. That was it. Three or four cases opened by Airbnb, and closed again after 24 hours due to ‘no response from the host’. There’s been a bit of moaning and complaining to get their attention on Twitter. They told my friend that they saw no reason to continue any case for it (even though absolutely nothing was resolved) and they kept closing them. The scenarios that are going around in my head are: she took them, and she’s obviously not going to own up to that; the cleaners took them, and she’s also not going to own up to that (but she should); the cleaners are just bad at their jobs, didn’t see them, and another guest has taken them. Working out what happened with no proof just means thoughts pop into my head every now and again, I feel sick, like I’ve been robbed, and then I go back to realizing there’s nothing I can do. That’s my vent. I’m sure some people have real problems. Thanks for listening and don’t stay here.
I’m an Airbnb superhost. I’ve generally loved my hosting experience and only ever had a few minor issues but nothing to ever make me feel how I am feeling right now. I am sitting here in tears, shaking in fear that my guest and his “mom” are going to come back. I’m home alone, my husband out of town, but I still decided to approve a request. I had a guest, “Daniel”, reserve two nights for one guest (himself). After a previous bad experience with a couple having disgustingly loud sex, I restricted my listing to single guests only. He was good with communication but never mentioned he’d be bringing anyone. His check-in time was 6:00 PM. He arrived at 1:00 AM with an older woman who immediately exclaimed: “I’m his mom, not a cougar.” She had no luggage so I assumed she was going to see the room, say goodbye, and that would be that. About 15 minutes went by, when I walked by the room and noticed the light was out. I sent Daniel a message asking when his mom might be leaving so I could lock up the house, but got no reply. I knocked on the door. I could hear them whispering but they refused to answer even after several loud knocks. I finally pounded on the door and called out: “Excuse me!”
“What?!” finally came the reply. I asked Daniel when his mom would be leaving, and she chimed in saying she was going to stay. I informed them the booking was for one person and she’d have to leave. She said “what, do you want more money?” I replied I needed her to leave for legal reasons. I could hear her become very angry and begin packing things. Over a period of about ten minutes I could hear them packing and talking about various ways to get revenge. I overheard something about stealing the sheets, stealing a candle, and at one point I overheard the mom exclaim “nice one! that’ll show her!” I think Daniel may have done something gross or stolen something. There are two empty spaces on my shelf but for the life of me I can’t remember what was there; I’ll probably never be able to claim the theft within the 24-hour Airbnb reporting window. They came out of the room and the mom immediately began berating me. I was terrified, sitting on the couch paralyzed with fear. Thankfully, they both left and I immediately called Airbnb. However, Airbnb didn’t really offer any resolution. They didn’t cancel the reservation. They told me it was over and to calm down, and that the guests probably didn’t do or steal anything so not to worry. I’m scared this guy could show up tomorrow for his second night because Airbnb didn’t even offer to cancel the reservation. If you’re a woman home alone, don’t be an Airbnb host!
Here’s my horror story; it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I had a person Instant Book my place with a stolen Airbnb account. The account holder was in Belgium and this guy was from Canada where my property is. I texted her to see how things were going only to find out she had no idea who I was and that she definitely had not booked my place. I called Airbnb and explained the situation to them. They put me on hold for 45 minutes at 3:00 AM in the winter in Montreal, so I called the police. They never came so I grabbed a baseball bat and entered my property. There was no one to hit with the baseball bat. No one was there, and most of my electronics were gone. That is not why I’m mad; it’s because of the way Airbnb handled the situation from there. I spoke to at least ten customer service representatives. They were all very nice, but my situation never got dealt with. After months of calling the only thing I could do was file a dispute with the person whose account got hacked, which they told me they would deny. They said they aren’t responsible for any stolen items, and that they would help resolve the situation if the guest had stolen anything. They would never pay my losses with their money. Obviously I can’t go after the guest who had her account stolen. Now it’s obvious that I can’t reason with Airbnb.
I was staying in San Sebastián last August and left all my best dresses hanging in the wardrobe; I was pregnant and running for a 5:00 AM train. I contacted the host the same day and arranged for him to send all my things back to Sydney. He seemed agreeable at the time and then I never heard from him again. He refused to answer any phone calls or messages. I estimate my lost items cost almost $2000 in dresses, some with the price tags still attached. I have spoken to a half dozen Airbnb team members over the last six months who have dropped my claim without even contacting me. This is what I received from a staff member (please see image). I’m so shocked at the lack of professionalism and patronising tone of this email.
We rented our house to three people from the Airbnb website where we advertised our three bedroom, two bathroom vacation rental. They stole all of our furniture, washer, dryer, artwork, and dishes. We immediately contacted Airbnb, filed a police report, found our receipts and emailed them all to Airbnb. They have done nothing to take care of this. They have a million dollar insurance policy and we never received a dime from this theft. Their insurance guy won’t return our phone calls and so we lost $15,000 worth of furnishings and appliances and Airbnb has done nothing to help us. I guess if you are a thief, rent through Airbnb and steal from the house you are renting, as Airbnb won’t do anything to catch you or help the people from whom you stole. I hope all thieves read this, rip everyone else off, and then, maybe when no one advertises through Airbnb anymore, they will go out of business. I am now going to contact the insurance commission and file a complaint. I will also contact other hosts on Airbnb and let them know about this so they can decide if they dare to continue with Airbnb.
We accepted a reservation from a verified guest. The guest stole everything out of the house. I mean everything, down the broom next to the furnace. We did everything Airbnb required that we do: file a police report, make an Excel sheet of all the items taken, provide receipts for everything, and take before and after photos. It has now been a month and they continue to drag their feet. Hosts beware: Airbnb does NOT verify their guests. Get additional information from your guests: driver’s licenses, credit cards, photos of guests and vehicles. Meet every guest prior to their stay and check them out. Do not rent to anyone new to Airbnb and does not have exemplary reviews – no matter what. Believe me, the money isn’t worth it. Airbnb does not care about you, especially if you can’t make them any more money.
I wanted to share my story, and hopefully get some feedback. I do not want to be easily identifiable so I will not give detailed specifics. We are Superhosts. We rented our house to a guy that had a verified email, phone number, and an “offline ID.” This guy stole my identify along with a good chunk of money. The police report has been filed, there is a detective assigned to the case, and I’ve been working with Airbnb’s “safety and trust team.” They offered to pay us for Lifelock that we had put on our lives, and also for door locks that we replaced. When I asked about my security deposit, she without hesitation sent us the entire amount, without asking for proof of anything (making us think they know more than we do).
Long story short, this guy booked under a fake name, a fake profile photo (I reverse Google searched it), a drop phone number, and a fake brand new email. Shouldn’t Airbnb be held responsible? Don’t they have a due diligence to properly vet all guests that will be staying at hosts’ homes? Surely this guy’s name that he made up for the profile and the ID name and photo do not match, so do they really check these, or just act like they do since this person wants to book so they can make an extra buck, while neglecting their hosts? The detective is looking into video footage of confirmed activity on the money that was stolen from us, as this will be his best lead. They connected him to another theft of checks around the same area, that same night. So there are at least two incidents in one night, by this guy, under two different names, and the checks were made out to a different name as well.
We do not think Airbnb cares about their hosts as much as they claim, as none of this would have happened had they throughly vetted each guest’s profile. But they did not. They have offered to reimburse the money only if we owe it back, which does not make since. I have not responded to that offer, as I’m waiting on the detective to look at the video footage, so we can identify this guy, so this “guest” will eventually have charges pressed against him. Does anyone think we should go to the media, and make people aware? Does anyone think we should hire an attorney? Does anyone know of any good attorneys that have handled cases in which the host is the plaintiff, and Airbnb as the defendant?
I have been managing vacation rentals for over eight years. I’ve enjoyed welcoming people into my homes and take great pride in providing them with a clean, warm, and welcoming place to stay. I decided to try Airbnb in the hopes of increasing the number of rentals during my slow season (summers in Arizona don’t make it a wildly popular place to travel). My first guest booked a property for five nights. According to Airbnb, the payout for the reservation should have been in my account 24 hours after check-in. That did not happen. I went to my property after the guest checked out and was shocked and disturbed by what I walked into. My house was trashed and reeked of cigarette smoke, and I had been robbed. I called the police and followed up with a call to Airbnb.
I was told to use the Resolution Center to ask the guest that robbed me for the money to cover the cost of the items he stole. This didn’t really make much sense to me… but I did it. I was told he then had 72 hours to respond and if there had been no resolution Airbnb would get involved. Big surprise… the man that robbed me didn’t respond. That 72 hours passed a week ago. I have called and emailed Airbnb multiple times and received absolutely no explanation about what they are doing on their end to help resolve this matter. The customer service people just read from their script and tell me it’s being “investigated.”
Here’s the kicker: I never received payment from the reservation. The robbery and security deposit aside, I was never even paid by Airbnb for the five nights he stayed at my house. I’ve resorted to a negative post on their Facebook page to which they responded with a DM then on Twitter. Still there has been no response, explanation, or money in my account. I have been robbed by both the guest that stayed in my home and now by Airbnb. I feel totally violated and I can’t do a thing about it other than share my experience with as many people as possible in the hopes that no one else has to go through what I am going through.